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Lotto Betting Group challenges proposed lotto betting ban

Representatives from the Lotto Betting Group of companies have called upon the UK Government to scrap a proposed change in the law banning third party betting on the EuroMillions lottery draws.

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The Group, which comprises WorldLottery Club, Lottoland, Jackpot.com and Multilotto have written to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) urging him to suspend the proposed restriction, which comes into effect on 6 April.

It is the latest twist in an almost year long saga which began in March 2017 when the government announced a consultation on whether to suspend a loophole which allows betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws.

The consultation received over 52 responses of support prompting the DCMS to declare that it was “contrary to the intention and spirit of section 95 of the Gambling Act 2005, which seeks to preserve a distinction between betting and The National Lottery to protect returns to good causes and prevent consumer confusion”. 

At present, one third of the price of a EuroMillions ticket bought through UK lottery operator Camelot goes to good causes.  Over £37bn has been awarded to over 525,000 charities and good causes since the lotteries inception in 1994.

A Camelot spokesman told The Times newspaper: “Bet-on-lottery firms get around existing legislation by purporting to offer the same products as the National Lottery while they are, in fact, just offering bets on the outcome of Euromillions draws. This has created confusion and diverted money from the good causes that the National Lottery was set up to support.”

However, in its letter, the Lotto Betting Group dismisses this assertion, stating: “The decision to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was unjustified and was based on inconclusive evidence.

“This belief has been supported by the recent publication of the National Audit Office report, which confirms that the fall in National Lottery income for good causes in 2016-17 was due to a move away from National Lottery draw-based games to Instant games and not as a result of lottery betting.

“Instant games have a lower return to good causes, which led to the decline. The letter before claim asks the DCMS to suspend the Parliamentary approval process.”

No public response has been made by the DCMS to this letter, however these companies could potentially lose millions in potential bets as a result of this law change, so this is a row that will undoubtedly rumble on over the next few months.

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